Souped-up kimchi jiggae recipe by Gizzi Erskine

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This slow-cooked Korean stew is packed with warmth and flavour, says Gizzi Erskine.

Kimchi jiggae recipe by Gizzi Erskine

A few years ago, I lived in Korea for almost six months while filming a show about Korean food. So believe me when I say Koreans live on kimchi – they have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But if you ask any Korean what their favourite dish is, they will all say jjigae. A jjigae is a stew and it’s the heart of Korean home cooking.

Most people love Doenjang Jjigae which is made with the famous Korean miso paste, but the real red-blooded Korean loves Kimchi Jjigae with its gochujang spiced base and heaps of shredded kimchi. Classically it is made with pork belly, but the Buddhists (who abstain from groin-rumbling fiery chillies) make it without so it can be made vegan with vegan kimchi.

The reason this is souped-up is because, although the Koreans call it a stew, I’ve made it a little more brothy. If you want to add carbs you can cook some Korean sweet potato glass noodles and add them to the base.



  • Rapeseed oil a splash
  • Pork belly or unsmoked bacon 100g, thinly sliced
  • Onions 2, thinly sliced
  • Gochujang paste 1 tbsp, substitute 1 tbsp of doenjang paste if you want it to be less spicy
  • Garlic cloves 2, grated
  • Ginger 2cm, peeled and grated
  • Korean chilli powder 1-2 tbsp
  • Fresh chicken or vegetable stock 1 litre
  • Kimchi 400g, shredded
  • Silken tofu 300g, drained and cut into 12 slices
  • Spring onions 3, finely chopped
  • Sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil to serve


  • Step 1

    First heat a deep-sided frying pan over a high heat. Add a splash of oil followed by the pork belly or bacon. You want to render some of the fat and crisp it up, so fry it for about 8 minutes, moving it around the pan regularly.


  • Step 2

    Once the pork is looking nice and caramelised, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions to the pork fat and fry for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften and go translucent. (If you are making a vegetarian version, omit this stage and just fry the onions in a little rapeseed oil.)


  • Step 3

    Next add the spice paste of your choice. I prefer gochujang as I like a bit of extra kick, but you can get a great complexity of flavour from doenjang paste. Give this a stir and add the garlic, ginger and chilli powder and allow to sweat for a few minutes before adding the pork belly.


  • Step 4

    After a couple more minutes pour in the stock. Bring this to the boil and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.


  • Step 5

    Finally, add the kimchi and simmer for a further 10 minutes. When you are ready to serve, divide the soup between four bowls. Layer 3 slices of tofu per person on top of the soup, along with a sprinkling of spring onions, sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Recipe from Slow: Food Worth Taking Time Over by Gizzi Erskine (HQ, £25). Photography by Issy Croker.